Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Concession conundrum: vendors adapt to changes at Houck Stadium

Friday, September 24, 2021
Houck Stadium's southern entrance, usually used by Southeast students and fans, is closed and locked.
Photo by Kailyn Veach

Fans gather from all around to watch the Redhawks football team take the stage at Houck Stadium. Although the team may have ups and downs throughout the game, the fans have their popcorn and soda in hand, enjoying every second the athletes play. Those who work behind the scenes to produce food for the fans put in more effort than meets the eye. Due to the renovations currently being made to Houck Stadium, concession stand vendors have been learning to adapt to their new situation.

Wil Gorman, Show Me Center director, is no stranger to rolling with the punches. After changing how food is exchanged amongst fans due to COVID-19, Gorman said he is confident in his staff due to their resilience to get through these types of situations.

“We make the best with what we got,” Gorman said. “We’ve been fortunate that we’re pretty used to things changing, especially since 2020. But even before that, we’ve hosted events here all the time at the Show Me Center, so we’re prepared to roll with it.”

Gorman has had help when it comes to dealing with the concession stands, and a huge piece of that puzzle resides amongst those who truly want to help out.

“You know, we’ve got some good nonprofit groups that help out,” Gorman said. “One of them is the sports administration program, and they have been phenomenal to work with.”

Alicia Scott, sport management professor at Southeast, helps run the Sport Management Society, one of the groups that helps Gorman and the staff. Starting a few years ago, students were able to make some money by working concession stands.

Scott sees the Sport Management Society as a great opportunity for the students. After the students help work and put money into the foundation account, Scott, along with other leaders, likes to pay it forward to the students.

“The money that we make goes into a foundation account,” Scott said. “Then, we can use that money to take our students to conferences, events, [and] we are even taking a group to the Cardinals game.”

The ones working diligently behind the scenes are not going unrecognized. Drake Knight, student and fan of the Redhawks football team, noticed the changes being made to the concessions. Although things seemed to be off due to the renovations, Knight noticed the drive the staff had to help ensure success.

“The fans appreciate what they do more than anything,” Knight said. “With them stepping outside of their comfort zone and still making things work, it’s really nice to see that it is working out for them. They’re killing it.”

The staff’s hard work, even during these changes, to ensure that hot dogs stay hot and drinks stay cold doesn’t go unappreciated. Gorman, along with the staff that helps ensure concessions run as smoothly as possible, hope to see you at Houck Stadium Saturday, Sept. 25, as the Redhawks take on Tennessee State at 2 p.m.